Rasselas is a fable-like story, more apologue than novel, written by Johnson in 1759 to help pay for the costs of his recently-deceased mother’s funeral. While the plot is basic and the characters are thin, the work is an important philosophical piece exploring whether or not humanity can attain happiness.
Rasselas, an Abyssinian prince, travels with his sister Nekayah, her handmaiden Pekuah, and the wise poet Imlac—a proxy for Johnson himself. Their exploration of happiness and the meaning of leading a happy life is a complex and subtle one, though the work ends with “nothing concluded.” Johnson leaves the reader to ponder: Can an individual ever attain happiness in any meaningful sense?
This ebook is only thought to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. It may still be under copyright in other countries. If you’re not located in the United States, you must check your local laws to verify that the contents of this ebook are free of copyright restrictions in the country you’re located in before downloading or using this ebook.
A brief history of this ebook
Update titlepage to match new standards
Add a11y metadata
Improve this ebook
Anyone can contribute to make a Standard Ebook better for everyone!
To report typos, typography errors, or other corrections, see how to report errors.
If you’re comfortable with technology and want to contribute directly, check out this ebook’s GitHub repository and our contributors section.